REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - The Shadow is one of the Army's best unmanned aerial systems. Soldiers and Marines are flying some 400 of them worldwide. Every successful flight owes something to Bic Green. He's been part of Shadow testing since the program's beginning. He is the external pilot for Shadow tests at Redstone Arsenal.
"If something is not quite right, or didn't go right they go back to my basics, flying it with the stick, getting it back down on the ground in one piece," Green told us.
Bic ought to be good at his job. He was an Air Force pilot in Vietnam. When he hasn't been flying full-sized planes for work, he's been flying remote-controlled models for fun.
"Basically I have a job to die for, because it's also my hobby. So work is not work for me. Work is just absolutely enjoyment," he explained.
He's quick to tell you the Shadow is a vital piece of military equipment, and he is proud to make sure it works for war fighters. The Shadow is about to pass the million flight hour mark, and Bic is definitely excited about his part in making that happen. "But I want to give the team credit. I'm part of a good team," says Bic.
He calls the engineers with the Shadow program, brilliant. "So I'm in heaven, because I finished 25th in a class of 23. So I'm as average as average gets, but I can fly," says Bic.
On the day we visited, Bic was manually flying the Shadow. He says the plane's computer can do it just fine, but he does bring something extra to the task. "My experience is worth its weight in gold, because I've seen every card that Murphy can throw at me," says Bic.
The problem for the Shadow testing program at Redstone, 70-year-old Bic is considering retirement, "My wife says you're going to need to go to counseling, because you won't know what it's like to not have to go to work and fly. I'm worried about your retiring. So that's the dilemma I'm in, in just absolutely loving what you do," says Bic.